An Enchanted Engagement Shoot

A couple of weeks ago I texted our wedding photographer and told her it was supposed to be in the 60s and sunny on the 5th of March, so we should do our engagement shoot. She agreed! The day came and it was in the mid to low 40s- of course. With our crazy church schedules, we knew this was the only weekend in March that we could possibly do pictures -so we decided to go for it.

Though it was chilly, it was still the most beautiful day. We met up at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake. I had been there a few times and gone canoeing with Zack. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I knew it would be the perfect location for pictures. We had a vision for our pictures and wanted them to truly encompass our personalities and who we truly are as a couple. We are outdoorsy, adventurous, and awkward most of the time. There were so many adorable ideas on Pinterest for engagement shoots, but a lot of them didn’t speak to our personalities. When we sat down and thought about the things we love, water hobbies was our number one thing- and Zack’s canoe was the perfect prop.

Photos by Bree Card Photography

(Please go book her now… she’s that amazing)


I wouldn’t have been true to myself if I didn’t wear a tulle skirt for these photos. It was a gift from my mother after our engagement and I’m absolutely in love with it.

Links to my outfit/accesories are at the bottom.


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He is SUCH a stud. I can’t handle it.


And he’s goofy just like me- even BETTER.


Bree brought these amazing flowers as a prop for our photos. She hit it spot on.


This bridge at Northwest River Park was stunning. That was a genuine laugh because he was tickling my face with his mustache. It’s a constant struggle.


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The lighting was enchanting and breath-taking.

I could have stayed there all day if it wasn’t freezing.


My heart melts for black and white photos.


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I told Zack he should run for president and have this be our portrait.


Bree captured a gorgeous photo of my custom design engagement ring. It’s officially my favorite possession and absolutely priceless. I’m still working on getting it insured. If you have any advice please post in comments!


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^ Functional fitness. Try carrying a canoe over your head. Those were laughs of pain.


Teamwork makes the dream work.


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When it comes to canoeing, we are naturals. We usually don’t dress this fancy for our adventures, but it was a fun change of pace. I brought an extra skirt in case I ruined mine in the process of getting in and out of the canoe. Luckily, it wasn’t needed!


Cue “just around the river bend“…

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This wasn’t sketchy at all.



Cuddling is the best cure for coldness.


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This is one of my favorites. Since the day we met, the way he looks at me makes me melt. It gives me butterflies and always has me thinking… I can’t believe you chose me.


A customized wooden paddle brought everything together. Zack plans on hanging it up in his home… soon to be our home in October.

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And then we twirled and twirled and twirled.


I’ll forever have to accept that I, myself, will look like I have a mustache when we kiss.


A love story, at least a convincing one, requires three elements

– the lover, the beloved, and the adventures they have together.

-Jane Smiley

Zachary James Neelands, I cannot wait to be your wife. 

The End.


Thank you Bree for capturing the most amazing pictures. We will cherish these forever.

Location: Northwest River Park in Chesapeake, VA

Navy blue turtleneck: Forever 21

Dipped tulle skirt: Bailey 44 by Anthropologie (currently out of stock, but can probably be found elsewhere)

Laser cut ankle boots: Target (kids size 6)

Blanket Scarf: Cotton On (From winter 2014-newer designs most likely available. This store is my absolute favorite-most of my clothing is from here)

Bar Necklace: All Washed Up Jewelry

Tooth necklace: A Dodson’s Home

Leaf crown: A Golden Garden (her Etsy shop is RIDICULOUS. Go look)

^ I love making my own crowns, but couldn’t find the Eucalyptus looking leaves that I wanted. It was my favorite tree when I grew up in California and I wanted to bring a little piece of that to the shoot.

Engagement Ring: Custom designed in California

Bouquet of flowers: Trader Joe’s

Wooden Paddle: Walmart (customization- me!)

I literally couldn’t tell you anything about Zack’s outfit… but he’s a hottie.

Thanks for reading xoxo


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